Renault F1 Team Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul is ready for Renault’s ‘hour of truth’ as the season kicks off in Melbourne.
Last season saw criticisms of the Renault engine but this year, Abiteboul insists he’s confident with their new look car and power unit.
“We have a new car that has shown potential in Barcelona. The power unit performance is there, with a clear step forward and consistent with our targets, which is very satisfying.
“The two pre-season tests in Barcelona were productive. We ran through our programme largely as planned, thanks to racking up a lot of kilometres.
“Given the level of reliability demonstrated in Barcelona, the sensitivity over this aspect will be a little different.
“From now, reliability will not necessarily score points, as it had in the past, but any resulting DNFs will be more costly.
“We will therefore be particularly vigilant in this regard at the start of the year. However, only the race will answer the outstanding questions and allow us to see where we are and to make further progress; it will be the hour of truth.”
Abiteboul was the man who landed Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo’s signature, ending his ten-year tenure with Red Bull Racing.
The talented 29-year-old is set to make his debut for the French outfit at the season opener in Australia, his home race.
Renault also retained German driver Nico Hülkenberg and Abiteboul boldly stated that he thinks his team have the best line-up on the grid.
He added: “The power unit has made progress and our driver line-up of Daniel and Nico is perhaps the strongest on the grid.
“We’re looking forward to seeing them showcasing their experience and talent on track. The first race of the year, the Australian Grand Prix, is a high point of the season, but even more so this year as Daniel Ricciardo makes his race debut for the team.
“This makes the first race of the season one of the most intense of the year for every team. The 21-race calendar will bring opportunities for us to continue our progress.
“Our objective of closing the gap to the best in class is ambitious but we are resolute and every detail will be taken into consideration.
“We believe in our ability and we aim to set the tone for a good season in Australia this weekend. We head there united and with strong determination.”